Like it or lump it, The Mist is the kind of film that – once the credits roll – you simply want to find someone else who’s seen it simply to talk about it. A deliberate change of style for writer/director Frank Darabont, his third big-screen Stephen King adaptation – after The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption – is a markedly different affair. This time, Thomas Jane finds himself caught in the middle of a big, enveloping mist, containing strange and very deadly creatures.
Soon, he and an assortment of others are holed up in a store, with nothing but each other and their paranoia for company. This set up, while interspersed with some occasionally unconvincing effects work, gives Darabont the framework to look at the frailties of human beings when faced with impending doom, and a chance to explore who the real monsters are. Step forward the superb Marcia Gay Harden who promptly yanks the film from underneath everyone’s nose as the seemingly sweet Mrs Carmody. Facing certain death, more and more of the trapped shoppers turn to her for comfort, and it’s the frictions between everyone that provide the film’s finest moments.
That, and of course one of the best and most ambitious endings of the year. We won’t spoil it here, because the sheer impact of it served cold is tricky to get across in words. As we said at the start, you may not like it, you may think it’s inspired, but we’re damn sure you’ll remember and talk about it.
The overall film itself does suffer from an elongated running time, and when the action moves away from the store itself the film suffers as a result. But it’s a brave, taxing movie, and one that really deserves to be seen.
The two-disc Blu-ray edition effectively mirrors the DVD. The highlight for this reviewer was Darabont’s very informative commentary. It’s a little dry at times, and quite back-slappy, but his discussions over how he stretched his budget are fascinating, and he’s a welcome person to spend time in the commentary company of.
You also get the documentary and featurettes from the DVD edition, and there’s plenty of meat to be found within them. You can catch our review of the DVD itself here.
As for the high definition transfer itself, it’s really quite good, although we did spot signs of grain, and the occasional softness in the picture. The included black and white version of the film, which Darabont prefers, thus comes across a lot better. Meanwhile, the audio is better, with a solid surround track eeking out maximum tension from the movie itself.
The Mist is, if you missed it, one of the most intriguing films of the year, warts and all. This Blu-ray? It’s a fine way to catch up with it, although it stops short of being a must-buy.